St. Maarten Sports Federations Elect New Leadership for National Sports Federation

St. Maarten Sports Federations Elect New  Leadership for National Sports Federation

The new Sports Federation board, from left to right: Les Brown, Kimberly Reyes-Puello, Saskia Jones, President Naomi Korstanje, Ryanne Bowers, Maria Collazos-Cotton, and Alain Richardson. (Robert Luckock photo)


PHILIPSBURG-- Elections were held in the Government Building to appoint the new board for the Sint Maarten Sports Federation, with eighteen of twenty-five federation members casting their votes on Monday, March 25.

The newly-elected board comprises: President Naomi Korstanje, Secretary Maria Collazos-Cotton, Treasurer Saskia Jones and board members: Ryanne Bowers, Kimberley Reyes-Puello, Les Brown, and Alain Richardson.

In an exciting development for the future of sports in St. Maarten, 14 sports federations initially initiated the process to advocate for fresh leadership at the helm of the National Federation, the St. Maarten Sports and Olympic Federation (SMSOF) / St. Maarten Sports Federation (SMSF).

The quest began on September 8, 2023, when representatives from eight sports federations gathered for a presentation on the current state of sports on the island. During the meeting, Naomi Korstanje, the newly elected president, presented her research findings on sports development, which included the challenges, and outlined a visionary strategy for advancing sports in Sint Maarten.

Thereupon, it was acknowledged that the National Federation encountered a range of operational, administrative, functional, and support challenges. These issues, viewed not as obstacles but as opportunities for growth and improvement, reaffirm the need for a leadership evolution to better meet the aspirations of athletes and sports community.

Following these revelations, the federations held a subsequent meeting on September 28, 2023. The federations agreed to support the re-establishment of the National Federation marked by good governance and transparency. As a result, they collectively submitted a formal letter of concern to the SMSOF/SMSF Board of Directors on October 28, outlining key areas of concern and urging an urgent extraordinary meeting within 14 days for resolution.

On November 15, member federations were invited to an extraordinary meeting which was

held on November 28 at the St. Peters Community Center. Present at the meeting were the

former president, Aartwicht Bell of SMSOF/SMSF, and former SMSOF committee members whom the president appointed.

However, despite the federation’s initial letter of concern highlighting the challenges above—the issues the federations aimed to address in this discussion—the agenda presented by SMSOF/SMSF failed to adequately address these concerns. Consequently, the federations internally felt a lack of proper representation and support in propelling their initiatives forward.

In response to these developments, the affiliated sports federations formed a temporary Sports Development Working Committee. The work group was later endorsed by the former president of SMSOF/SMSF, and thereafter unanimously resolved to collaborate and initiated an electoral process to re-establish and realign SMSOF/SMSF with the needed governance standards.

“This board is driven by the objective of enhancing the governance structure of the federation during its term. They are enthusiastic about initiating a strategic restructuring of the federation to ensure good governance and sustainability in the years ahead.

“Lastly, the board extends a heartfelt thank you to the former president and the preceding

board members for their dedication and contributions to the development of sports on the


“Gratitude is also expressed to the Election Committee for overseeing a secure and transparent election process, to all sports federations for their unwavering commitment, and support of sports on the island, and to everyone who played a role in organising and facilitating the election.”

“As we embark on this new journey, we extend congratulations to our country. We envision a future where we further strengthen the recognition and the impact of sports development for

the coming generations in Sint Maarten,” said President of Sint Maarten Sports Federation, Naomi Korstanje. “This marks a significant milestone in our collective pursuit of excellence in sports governance. We look forward to collaboration, and harnessing our local talent while building towards a National Sports Vision; That one day St. Maarten can cultivate athletes that stand on the biggest sports stages. We are One Team, One Vision, One Island”.

The Daily Herald

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